By Peter Batt, Food Operations Divisional Managing Director.

How do you like to spend your Saturday mornings? I’ve spent all too many with a bacon bap in one hand and a frothy latte in the other. Well – all of that changed last weekend. After a stark realisation that I’m getting older and need to get fitter, I took inspiration from the #HealthySwaps initiative, exchanged my sarnie for sneakers, and set out on my first parkrun.

All across the UK, parkrun host free, weekly, 5km timed runs. This extremely simple concept is getting thousands of people out of bed on a Saturday morning, and bringing them together in a safe, fun and green environment. I think it’s wonderful that our Co-op has partnered with parkrun to support this initiative.

Running isn’t my usual idea of fun, but after such an enjoyable morning at the Wimbledon Common parkrun, I’m very keen to spread the word. Before the event I had visions of a park full of sprinters, all kitted out in the latest designer trainers, equipped with invisible springs and jet-powered engines! But I was pleasantly surprised to see so many families, friends, lone-runners – some first-timers, some professionals – not to mention the dogs and prams! I immediately felt at ease and any fear was replaced by excitement.

The actual run took me just over half an hour, but the event was so much more than that. I joined around 15 – 20 colleagues at our Co-op stall and it was great to see so many people gathering around to talk with us and ask questions. Thanks to handing out free nutritional food boxes to hungry runners, our stall was not short of attention.

In fact, throughout the entire event I was genuinely surprised by how many people were coming and talking to me about Co-op – I’m glad I wore my branded t-shirt! For me, this has really highlighted the scale of Co-op’s presence within our communities.

I’m confident this’ll continue to grow with our increasing involvement in community initiatives. It’s great to see the work we’re already doing to support community health and wellbeing. I’ll certainly be carrying this inspiration back to my teams and I strongly urge all leaders to do the same.

To get involved, simply register on the parkrun website here, and don’t forget to pledge to #HealthySwaps here. Once you’ve done both, you’ll start receive rewards for runs – such as after your tenth run you’ll receive a Co-op and parkrun branded t-shirt!

It’s only an hour and a half out of your morning – just enough time to make it worthwhile, but not too long that it takes up your whole day. It’s such a positive way to begin the weekend; next time, I’m bringing the dog!

Watch this video to find out more about Co-op’s partnership with parkrun.

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Has any one got a confirmation email to say they are signed up? I haven’t …I presumed I would??

    Thank you

  2. I do parkrun most weeks! How do we apply for the t-shirt after our 10th run?

    • Hi Katie, thanks for your message. Great to hear you’re taking part. To get your t-shirt you have to sign up to be a healthy swapper, which will ask for your employee number if you’re a Co-op colleague. Once you’ve signed up the count will begin, then on the 10th run a t-shirt will automatically be triggered on your account. You will then be contacted to arrange delivery. Thanks!

  3. Great that Co-op are partnering with parkrun. Had no idea about the #healthyswap initiative too, so will be signing up. #StamfordPark #SouthManchester

  4. This is such an amazing idea! I have signed up and would also love to become a #healthyswap champion!

  5. Great idea! I run alot and run with a running club. I do Park Run when I am not races the day after. A great initiative. I will be sharing this great idea with my fellow runners in the club and at my local Park Run. #Heatonpark #ChaddertonHall #SouthManchester

  6. Fab idea! Signed up. I would love to become a #healthyswap champion for our local park run!

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